The Chicago Bulls have played impressively this season despite injuries to key players. One could even go as far as to label them potential championship material when everyone on the roster is healthy. In the past, both Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen have made comments alluding to the fact that this Bulls’ team is capable of having the same success as the championship teams of the 1990s. Based on that sentiment, I thought it would be interesting to compare the players from this team to their predecessors from 20 years ago.
Bill Cartwright vs. Joakim Noah:
Bill Cartwright was not a dominant center from an offensive standpoint. However, he did play solid defense in those grueling playoff battles against the Detroit Pistons and the New York Knicks. Joakim Noah on the other hand, is capable of averaging a double-double and is very active on both ends of the floor. Yes Cartwright has the rings, but I have to give Noah the edge because he provides more match-up problems than Cartwright did.
Scottie Pippen vs. Luol Deng:
This is not a fair comparison because Scottie Pippen was not only a great one-on-one defender, he was a great facilitator as well. Luol Deng is the best all-around player on this year’s team and can give you around 17 points per game, which is comparable to Pippen’s scoring output. Being that Pippen was named as one of the 50 greatest players in 1997 and was able to hold his own while playing alongside one of the greatest players in the game, it is only fair to give Scottie the nod here.
Horace Grant vs. Carlos Boozer:
I must admit I was excited when the Bulls acquired Carlos Boozer as I felt he would give the Bulls the scoring and rebounding threat that has been lacking at the four spot since Horace Grant departed the team following the 1993-1994 season. While Boozer has the better scoring and rebounding averages, Grant is the better defender of the two and he was a greater presence in the paint than Boozer is today. If I had to take my pick in a close game, I would have to go with Grant because he has the ability to help a team get that crucial stop while Boozer is often a defensive liability.
Michael Jordan vs. Rip Hamilton / Ronnie Brewer:
I will not spend a lot of time on this comparison as Jordan dominated games like no other player of his era. As long as Jordan was on the floor, the Bulls always had a chance of winning a game, regardless of who the opponent was. While both Hamilton and Brewer bring important tangibles to the current Bulls’ team, neither player can hold a candle to Jordan.
Derrick Rose vs. John Paxson / B.J. Armstrong:
John Paxson was the perfect complementary guard to Jordan during the Bulls’ first two titles and B.J. Armstrong took over the position in the 1992-1993 season. Neither of these two guards were known for getting to the basket frequently, but they could stretch an opposing defense with their long-range shooting.
With Derrick Rose, you have a player who takes it to the rim with regularity and he continues to add range to his jump-shot. With averages of over 24 points and just under eight assists per game last season, Rose became the youngest player to capture the Most Valuable Player award. With that being said, I will have to give the edge to Rose in this point-guard comparison.